This is an Old Delhi specialty – pooris made with wheat and dal, with a side of a spicy potato curry. It is very heavy on the stomach as ghee is used very liberally here. And as if that isn’t enough, it is usually accompanied with a sweet dish. For breakfast, no less! I had it for the first time in the bylanes of Old Delhi while visiting with a friend and it was one of those unforgettable things. You know, the kind where you can actually feel the taste of it just thinking of it.
The first few years of my life were spent in Delhi, though I have no recollection of the time then. Visited again in my early 20s with my friend A, when my sister and BIL lived there. We had a blast then. Wasn’t much of a foodie back then. It’d be a totally different story now. Our thing then was shopping - shopped like crazy...that is the thing I remember most vividly about our trip. We bought all sorts of things, required or not. My friend was great at bargaining, something I totally suck at. So at Palika Bazaar, we both were drooling over these beautiful leather bags. The vendor quotes Rs 750 each for them. She starts her bargaining at Rs. 100! I was gaping when I heard her. But guess what, we got those bags for Rs. 150 each! That was first I saw her in action. Since then, anytime we shopped at Commercial Street in Bangalore, we all knew to take A with us to get fair prices! I caught up with an old college friend of mine, V, that Delhi visit too. He chaperoned us around Delhi one day - some touristy spots, some local food and shopping (I recently found a pic of the three of us from the Qutub Minar visit). He was the fun localite friend that one should have in every trip.
This recipe comes from V’s wife, M, who loves to cook and has turned her passion into a catering venture in Delhi - MV's Vyanjan. How neat to pursue your passion, right? I know many folks, including the spouse, that just don’t dig Facebook. He does not even log in for months! I am the opposite. I have caught up with so many friends from the past and re-connected with relatives through FB. Some relationships have become closer now that we are in some way a part of each other’s lives. Well, long story short...I caught up with my old collegemate, V, on FB and through him, M. Even though we have not met, M has become a good friend too. You know how easy it is to connect with some people sometimes...it was that way with her. Her recipe for Bedmi puri was spot on and the aloo sabzi, spicy and delicious! Here is how I made it, following her recipe.
1 cup urad dal
2.5 cups wheat four
2 tbsp sooji
1 tsp grated ginger
½ tsp each jeera, ajwain and saunf (cumin, carom and fennel seeds)
1 tsp red pepper flakes
A few dashes of hing (asafetida)
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying
Soak urad dal for 2 hours and grind coarsely. Mix with the remaining ingredients and make a slightly stiff dough with some water. Add more flour if it is sticky. Knead for a couple minutes. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes.
Heat oil for deep frying. To test for the correct temperature, drop a small bit of dough into the oil. If it rises immediately, the oil is ready.
Knead the dough again and make them into small balls the size of a small lemon. Roll out into discs, not too thin.
After the oil test, drop them in the hot oil one by one until the puff up. Turn over and let fry for a few seconds more.
Drain on a paper towel.
For the Aloo Sabzi
4 large potatoes, boiled and peeled
1 tsp cayenne/red chili powder
1 tsp jeera powder (ground cumin)
1 tsp dhania powder (ground coriander)
½ tsp garam masala powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp kasuri methi
1 tbsp (or more) ghee
1/2 tsp jeera (cumin)
¼ tsp methi dana (fenugreek seeds)
A few pinches hing
Salt to taste
Chop the boiled potatoes into thick chunks and mash 2-3 chunks.
Mix all the spice powders in one cup of water.
Heat ghee in a pan and do the tadka.
Add the spiced water and bring to a boil.
Add the potatoes, both the chopped and the mashed ones.
Mix in the kasuri methi and salt to taste.
Cook until you see ghee floating on the top.
Note: The consistency of this curry is runny. It does tend to thicken up with time (like in the pic).